Looking Back

April 16, 2013

Recently, Rebekah Children's Services had the privilege of having a very special guest visit; Caroline Monzani.  She is the Great, Great Granddaughter of Mrs. Caroline Hoxett; well known as the Grand President of the Rebekah Assembly in 1900. Monzani, along with her two daughters Emily and Christina, traveled to Gilroy hoping to gain more insight about the person their ancestor had been.

Caroline Amelia Brooks was born the youngest on September 23, 1840 in Painesville, Ohio. At the young age of 19, Caroline married Abial Osborne, and the two immediately began the Gold Rush journey to California in 1859. Traveling the jungles through the Isthmus of Panama, they boarded the ship which would carry them up the California Coast towards the gold panning and mining town of Placerville (Nicknamed Blood and Guts and later Hangtown). Shortly after, Caroline gave birth to her only child, Ada Eliza Osbourne on November 25th, 1860

After Abial’s death, Caroline remarried a handsome baker; Thomas Hoxett. Soon, they moved away from the rough and tumble life of Placerville to the valley town of Gilroy in 1868. Thomas established the first bakery on Monterey Street. They wanted to raise Ada in a better place and once she had grown, she was sent to the newly established Wellesley College for girls. She studied for three years and married a young banker, Christopher Carlson. They both settled in Painesville, Ohio.

Thomas Hoxett retired from the bakery and passed away shortly after. In the years to follow, Caroline took on increased responsibilities and a greater role with the Unity Rebekah Lodge.

Caroline Hoxett is well remembered for donating the 13 acres of land that we are currently located on today. She provided funding to institute the then; Odd Fellows Orphans Home at I.O.O.F and Forest Streets in Gilroy. The establishment was completed in 1897. In 1902, the original wooden orphanage building was severely damaged by the earthquake. Mrs. Hoxett did not hesitate and was the contributor in funding the reconstruction for a much larger, solid, steel reinforced concrete building designed by the late William Weeks. Following completion of the 45,000 square foot building in 1921, she also gifted a bell tower and chimes as she was very dedicated to the orphanage.

Certainly, Hoxett was a determined woman to improve the quality of children and young adult’s lives. She naturally demonstrated her dedication to promote Gilroy’s strength as a town and was a person of strong resolve to keep the Children’s Home. She played remarkably prominent roles fostering town landmarks during an era when conventional protocol at that time for women was to maintain a low profile. Caroline remained ambitious and pursued her true desires. Hoxett lived to be 87 years of age.

 “Though knowing her personally will always be a mystery, she was a woman with good intentions, outwardly focused to giving and to help children and young adults.  She was truly a person of resilience and so inspiring. She was a benefactress!  Children and young adults today are still being given support. That is what endures through time. My family and I will be thinking about this trip for a long time to come.”~Caroline Monzani

Caroline Monzani with her daughters; Emily & Christina visit Rebekah Children's Services in Gilroy.